Famous Diamonds

The Orlov is the largest and most famous diamond from the Moscow Kremlin’s Diamond Fund. It sits atop Catherine the Great’s Imperial Sceptre. It was found in India at the end of the 17th – early 18th century. The weight of this white diamond with a faint bluish-green tinge was originally assessed at 400 carats, but after cutting, it was reduced to 189.62 carats. The Orlov diamond is one of the few historic diamonds that retains its original Indian rose-style cut.
According to the official version, Count Grigory Orlov bought the gem in Amsterdam from an Armenian (some say Persian) merchant for 400,000 Dutch florins and presented it to Catherine the Great on her birthday. Another version claims that Catherine bought the gem herself with money from the state treasury. To avoid accusations of profligacy, she made up the first version and named the diamond after Orlov. News of this truly imperial present quickly spread throughout Europe, as no European monarch could boast such a large cut diamond.

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